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Denver changing trash, recycling schedule in early 2022

trash and recycling cans
Posted at 11:42 AM, Nov 10, 2021
and last updated 2021-11-10 13:43:21-05

DENVER — Denver's Department of Transportation and Infrastructure will switch up its trash and recycling collection services in 2022 amid a driver shortage.

The Department of Transportation and Infrastructure, also known as DOTI, will launch new routes to enhance its trash, recycling and compost collection services, the department said on Wednesday morning. This comes in the wake of challenges caused by the pandemic, which includes fewer available drivers. It marks the first time in 15 years DOTI has had to make a significant routing adjustment.

“In response to a national problem, we’re implementing a Denver solution to maintain the high levels of service our customers are used to receiving,” said Adam Phipps, executive director of DOTI. “Our approach involves two asks: we’ll ask our operators to drive new routes next year and 70% of our customers to set out their bins on a different day of the week.”

According to DOTI, the changes begin Jan. 3, 2022 and include the following improvements:

  • Implementing denser, more compact routes to collect the additional trash that Denverites are setting out as work from home trends continue
  • Moving to a district approach and assigning regular staff to each district to ensure more consistency
  • Efficient routing, which will result in 62,000 fewer miles driven, meaning reductions in fuel use and greenhouse gas emissions
  • Moving to a four-day — Monday through Thursday — collection schedule instead of a five-day collection schedule. Fridays can be used for catchup work, illegal dumping complaints, and holiday pickups that previously pushed collections to Saturdays

DOTI said it hopes this will make operations more efficient and the service more reliable.

According to its records, DOTI kept a missed pickup rate of less than 1% of total pickups per month. However, this has required overtime and weekend work. DOTI has increased pay for its drivers, based on their experience with a Commercial Driver License.

Residents should keep an eye out for DOTI's newsletter in their mailboxes in December to confirm which day of the week they should set out their bins in 2022. You can also find the schedule on Denver's website here in the new year.

DOTI is now searching for 30 drivers to fill its open positions. This comes with a $2,500 signing bonus.